Tom is the First Assistant Harris County District Attorney. He is a 40-year lawyer who brings experiences from a variety of adventures. He was born in the nation’s capital of Texan stock, but grew up in Mexico. He came to Houston in 1970 to attend Rice University, where his undergraduate degree in History inevitably led him to law school at the University of Houston to have a future. Like all talented, but as he would describe himself, mediocre law students, he became a trial lawyer upon passing the bar in 1978.
Because he spoke fluent Spanish, Tom quickly found his niche. After several years of private criminal practice, Tom went to work in 1982 for the Federal Public Defender in Houston as their first bilingual lawyer. He ended up staying there 27 years, most of them as the first assistant, tried scores of federal jury trials and handled federal appeals for those cases he did not win. Along the way, Tom joined the Army Reserve.
This eventually led to hostile fire or combat service in Bosnia, Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to the operational deployments, Tom served seven years as a trial judge for courts-martial and a stint on the Army Court of Criminal Appeals as an associate judge. He received two Bronze Star medals, the Legion of Merit, and retired as a full colonel in 2012. Tom ran for state district judge in 2010, when he left the federal defender system but received a mandate to continue practicing law which he did until February 2017, when Kim Ogg selected him to serve as first assistant.
Tom is on the board of the League of Women Voters and is active in voter registration and Hispanic outreach. He also serves on the board of Latino Giving – Houston, a small charitable non-profit that teaches philanthropy by doing.
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